New Delhi: India's top doctors have demanded that the government steps in and acts immediately to check the shocking contempt of law displayed by administrators of private medical and dental colleges. This came after a CNN-IBN sting operation exposed how PG medical college seats are on sale with some being sold for as much as Rs 3 crore, even before the results for the All India Common Entrance Test are declared.
Speaking to IBN18 Editor-in-Chief Rajdeep Saredesai, top medical experts and doctors called for action in the case. "The core issue is the medical education is not to be converted into a business. My question is why can't the government spend Rs 1000 or Rs 2000 crore, nationalise all private medical colleges and open new government medical colleges, questioned Dr Chandra M Gulati, Editor, Monthly Index of Medical Specialities.
Industry experts also said there has to be a check on such acts of colleges. "There was a Rs 600 crore admission scam wherein the college itself admitted and the same people were arrested, how come for all these years instead of checking the standards of that college, seats have been enhanced? In the same college, isn't there a token of inquiry or punishment that comes for violating rules, not for Rs 1 or 2 crore, but Rs 600 crore? I mean there is no one to ask a question," Dr Usha Mohandas, former Member, Dental Council of India, said.
In clear violation of the Supreme Court of India's orders and audacious contempt of law, five reputed colleges have been caught in the middle of the rot in the country's medical education system. A CNN-IBN sting operation covering three states has exposed how private medical and dental colleges are illegally selling post graduate seats to the highest bidders.
Results for the All India Common Entrance test are still not out but post graduate medical seats for the academic year 2013-2014 have already been sold off. A Supreme Court order prohibits medical colleges to reveal results of the independent entrance tests that they conduct.
Santosh Medical College in Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh and People's Medical College in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh have been caught on camera asking for obscene amounts of money for seats. Post graduate seats are sold off for crores of rupees while legitimate and qualifying students are paid lakhs for vacating them for "resale". Colleges are also hiring doctors to fudge medical inspections.
"If I leave the seat, I will get Rs 20-25 lakh for leaving the seat of the private medical college so later they can sell the seat to someone else. MCI and government don't have proper system to check that a particular student should not take admission in more than one college at a time," a student said on the condition of anonymity.
The story was the same in Subharti Medical College in Meerut, Uttar Pradesh where the director of the college, RP Singh, demanded Rs 60 lakh rupees along with Rs 8 lakh admission fee from the CNN-IBN reporter for one diploma seat. Directors of People's Medical College admitted on camera that most seats for 2013 have been sold even before the Supreme Court verdict came out. A seat to study radiology was sold upto 2016 for Rs 1 crore.
At Mullana Medical College in Ambala, Haryana, the officer-in-charge suggested a unique way to beat the system - get admission in the NRI quota, even if one is not an NRI. All one has to do is ensure the payment is made through a foreign account and provide an affidavit showing that the student is a ward of the foreign account holder.
However, Santosh Medical College said all the allegation made against the institution are false. "It seems to be the work of someone to malign our institution. It is denied that our institution charges capitation fee. As a responsible organization we have initiated an internal enquiry. The Director personnel has been appointed as enquiry officer," the college said.
The ITS Dental College in its reaction said, "We strongly deny any booking of seats. This year also this test is being conducted in accordance with decision of Hon'ble Supreme Court of India. Mr Anil Kumar handles academic program office and personnel department work and is not handling any admission related work."
The Subharti Medical College and Mullana Medical College did not comment on the investigation.
Medical college faculty members admitted that they can't fight corrupt managements. "Dental Council of India (DCI) does periodic inspection. We need to have minimum criteria for 30 patients or 50 per day. We hire the faculty and patients on the day of inspection and that's how it works," said a faculty member.
In April 2010, President of the Medical Council of India (MCI) Dr Ketan Desai was arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation for taking a Rs 2 crore bribe to recognize a medical college in Punjab. A CNN-IBN investigation had also showed how a cartel led by Desai flouted MCI norms to mint money.
Students with no science background were given admission into MBBS courses and colleges with no infrastructure were granted licenses. The government had then dissolved the MCI and replaced it with a board of governors. However, three years on the situation has not changed.
For the last three years CNN-IBN has been airing stories of corruption in the MCI and DCI, but the result has just been token decisions by the government. CNN-IBN has also been showing how medical education regulators have been approving sub-standard medical and dental colleges and allowing them to flourish. The apathy, however, is leading to production of dummy doctors in the country.